The first Syrian cosmonaut sent to space now lives in Istanbul as a refugee, after fleeing the civil war in Syria with his family in 2012.Before leaving the war in Syria behind four years ago to live as a refugee in Istanbul's Fatih district, Muhammed Faris was a well-known Syrian hero, as Syria's first cosmonaut, chosen for a team to be sent to space as part of the Soviet Interkosmos Program in 1987. During his mission, he made a speech praising then-president Hafiz al-Assad. Upon his return, he received a "Hero of Syria" medal from the then-president. After teaching at university for 10 years, Faris returned to the army and became a general in 2004. In 2012, he left his country with his family to take refuge in Turkey.
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